Now, that’s what you can call a real trip — and, someday, for future generations, and maybe it will be. But, for now, it is only so for the chosen one. And to a chosen one, you must first be a robot, and then have some skills that NASA would consider fit for such a mission. We’re talking about the Mars 2020 rover that is on its way to the Red Planet.
Mars 2020 gets ready for its launch
The rover will collect samples from the Mars atmosphere’s oxygen and from the soil that might be hiding microbial life. Not so many robots can do that. But Mars 2020 rover can. And for that, an Atlas 5 rocket will launch it on July 17, from Cape Canaveral in Florida straight to the planet Mars.
Until now, the rover was held with love and lots of care at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. And its leaving caused a lot of drama “our rover has left the only home it has ever known. The 2020 family here at JPL is a little sad to see it go,” were the words of John McNamee, NASA’s project manager.
But the new Mars rover is meant to be a sort of a hero, so along with the drama, the family left behind has also reason to be filled with pride — and they are.
Mars 2020 is on its way to the Red Planet
The rover is now at Cape Canaveral in Florida, on the other coast. It will be re-assembled at Kennedy Space Center in a clean room, where no fibers or human touch can defile it. It will go through final preparations for the mission.
At the beginning of June, Mars 2020 will travel at the launch complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After seven months, if everything goes as planned, the rover will land on Mars in February 2021. The Jezero Crater is the final destination on Martian soil. The diameter of the crater is about 49.0 km.
Clay minerals have been detected in and around the crater. It is thought to have once been flooded with water, so this area probably held life in ancient times. The rover’s mission might prove this theory.